Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

Bard College Catalogue 2017-18

Bard College Catalogue 2017-18

American Studies


Christian Crouch (director), Myra Young Armstead, Thurman Barker, Alex Benson, Holger Droessler, Yuval Elmelech, Elizabeth Frank, Simon Gilhooley, Donna Ford Grover, Christopher R. Lindner, Peter L’Official, Allison McKim, Matthew Mutter, Joel Perlmann, John Pruitt, Susan Fox Rogers, Julia Rosenbaum, Tom Wolf


The American Studies Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of culture and society in the United States. Students take courses in a wide range of fields with the aim of learning how to study this complex subject in a sensitive and responsible way. In the introductory courses, students develop the ability to analyze a broad spectrum of materials, including novels, autobiographies, newspapers, photographs, films, songs, and websites. In the Junior Seminar and Senior Project, students identify and integrate relevant method-ologies from at least two disciplines, creating modes of analysis appropriate to their topics. By graduation, students should have developed a base of knowledge about the past and present conditions of the American experience both at home and abroad.


Before Moderation, students must take one of the two American Studies 101 courses, Introduction to American Studies or Colonial English America, or American Studies 102, Introduction to American Culture and Values, and at least two other courses focusing on the United States. After Moderation, they must take at least three more courses on the United States and at least two courses on non-U.S. national cultures. One post-Moderation course on the United States must be a junior seminar. Every junior seminar culminates in a 20- to 25-page paper in which students bring multiple analytical frameworks to bear on a subject of their choice.At least two of the students’ U.S.-focused courses must emphasize the period before 1900. In order to ensure a variety of perspectives on students’ work, both the Moderation and Senior Project boards must consist of faculty members drawn from more than one division.

Recent Senior Projects in American Studies

  • “Consuming Death, Suffering, and Chaos: Visual Narratives of the Civil War, Vietnam War, and September 11th”
  • “Fruits Are Ripe, We Are Fresh: The Rapper, the Emcee, the Cypher, and the Participatory Spectrum of Hip-Hop”
  • “Smoking Out the Truth: An Early History of Southern Barbecue”


Introduction to American Studies
American Studies 101A
An introduction to the field of American studies, defined both by the range of materials covered (essays, novels, autobiographies, photographs, historical documents, etc.) and by the questions asked about them, including: How have different Americans imagined what it means to be an American? What ideas about national history, patriotism, and moral character shape their visions of being American?

Colonial English America
American Studies 101B
cross-listed: historical studies
This course traces the deeply fraught history of the English colonies in America, beginning with English piracy in the Caribbean and concluding in the early years of the Revolution, when the outcome of that rebellion was still unclear.

Introduction to American Culture and Values
American Studies 102
This course develops the assumption that Americans define their differences more through their culture than their politics or else they politicize their cultural differences. Examples studied include the Scopes trial and battles over drugs, abortion rights, and environmental justice.